Mardi Gras and Carnival are two similar holidays that celebrate the same period before Lent; these celebrations tend to take place in countries with cultural traditions influenced by Catholic and Christian religious practices. Some of these countries include Cape Verde, Trinidad and Tobago, Germany, Italy, Greece, Denmark, Russia, France and Brazil, which is home to the famous Rio Carnival.
Carnival celebrations can also be found in places like Goa, India, where a historical population of Portuguese colonists introduced the celebrations to a country that otherwise does not tend to recognize this Christian religious festival. Each country, and even each region or city within a country, that celebrates Mardi Gras or Carnival tends to have its own unique take on celebrations, though in general all of these celebrations usually involve public gatherings and street parties with an exuberant and self-indulgent tone.
While Mardi Gras takes place on a specific day (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday), Carnival refers to a multi-day period that often starts at different times in different places. In Germany, for example, Carnival season starts in November, while in other places it starts in January or February. Both holidays are intended as periods of celebration and enjoyment before the religious period of self-denial associated with Lent begins.